MAV? Please help

Two weeks ago, I was at a conference and very busy; didn’t sleep well and didn’t eat much that day. At night, suddenly I start feeling this almost rocking sensation. I can’t really explain it, but it sort of comes over in continuous waves and there’s no nystagmus. Well, I put it down to exhaustion and go to sleep; next morning, it’s better for maybe twenty minutes, and then kicks in again. This continues for the whole day, doesn’t seem to affect my balance particularly, is kind of distracting, but doesn’t seem to do anything major. It improves over the next few days and by the fourth or fifth day I only experience it at few certain times- during the day- it just happens, and disappears really fast. It’s better in the morning. I got this feeling of ear blockage and tinnitus once, but it disappears in seconds after I shake my head and I don’t know if it has anything to do with it.

I’m a pretty anxious person,and am afraid it’s something more serious, such as MS. I’ve had bloodwork done, no problems, and it would be a huge help if someone could tell me if this is MAV or not. I’ve never had a migraine, by the way, and when I was small used to have motion sickness.

Do you shake, feel sweaty, disorientated? You say you hadnt eaten much all day, then, the next day was OK for a while then it came again in waves. It could be reactive hypoglycemia, blood sugar drops connected with your eating, you can check this out with a glucometer from the chemist for around £20.

You say it disappears real fast. Have you checked whether this is within half an hour of eating?

Otherwise, it could be anxiety. You may have MAV but I have never experienced it to disappear really fast, but the motion sickness as a child would make me suspicious that you may have it. You could have both reactive hypoglycemia and MAV, I have both.


Did you have to travel for this conference and how did you travel (Plain car, Boat?)


MAV is such a tricky thing - many of us had to get to a specialist before a diagnosis was made. I saw a neurotologist, and am so glad I did. There’s a lot we think we know, but we really need experts.

The “migraine” headache that many of us never thought we had is the sterotypical skull cracker that a lot of people with MAV do not get. What a lot of us have had in our history, however, is “sinus” headaches which turn out not to have been sinus headaches at all. We just diagnosed them ourselves (after maybe having had a sinus infection or 2 or 3 - those headaches during sinus infections are TRUE sinus headaches), but as it turns out most self-diagnosed “sinus” headaches (the ones that don’t occur during actual sinus infections) are misdiagnosed - my neurotologist sent me to a neurologist, who told me that. They are in fact migraine headaches, but they aren’t the disabling, stay in bed, stay home from work types that most people associate with migraine headaches.


Thanks for your help. To clarify, what I feel as of right now is at random intervals a sort of wave feeling. Passes over, is gone. I don’t feel shaky or sweaty. It could be associated with sudden movement but I can’t really tell; it’s not something I can ‘make’ happen by turning my head a certain way. The third day it came I tried the Romberg test, swayed a bit, but not a lot; might have been anxiety. The feeling isn’t awful, but a bit disorienting. Strange thing is, I think something similar happened once before, also when I had missed a night of sleep. However, that time, I’m pretty sure it disappeared in the morning.
(I drove to the conference.)

Side note: when I jump and up down, I can hear a kind of faint rattle in my head. Does that mean it might something to do with the inner ears?

Have you had an MRI and CT scan done?
There are “dizzy and balance” centers where they can do testing to see if crystals might be in your ears causing disequalibrium. You can Google ear crystals and see if that sounds like what you are experiencing. If so, there is a way they can get them out, and poof! dizziness gone…unfortunatley, that wasn’t my problem since it’s an easy solution.


Update: I went to see a doctor week ago and he said he’ll refer me to an ENT. The rocking feeling still appears at times, seems to be better if I sleep more and gets worse with anxiety. Would irregular sleep be a trigger for MAV? Also, I recently found out that my dad, who also has motion sickness, has had a few times over the years when he’s tired/stressed/not eating well when he’s suffered brief episodes of vertigo. He says his was more like the external environment seemed to be moving, which is different from what I have, but I’ve heard that MAV can be hereditary.

Also, recently, instead of the ground moving up and down, the dizziness/vertigo has shifted to more of a periodic elevator dip feeling. Is that consistent with MAV?

This has really been bothering me, and I’m afraid that it will get worse, so any help would appreciated so much. Thanks!

Hi Swansung,

All those feelings of motion you describe (including your Dad’s) can absolutely be related to migraine. And yes, it is hereditry too. Lack of sleep can also make things feel worse and/or be a trigger.

Good luck with the ENT and I hope you get some answers.


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Would irregular sleep be a trigger for MAV?

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Hey there – yes, this is a BIG one in terms of migraine triggers. S :slight_smile:


Thanks for your help.

I read yesterday that caffeine is a common food trigger for migraine, and just remembered recently that the day the rocking feeling began, I basically ate nothing, and only drank coffee. So, there’s also that. I’m pretty convinced the dizziness/vertigo might be MAV, but one last question- is it normal for the vertigo to go away and leave sort of a residue? That’s sort of what I feel-- I had a week or so of full on rocking and now the occasional ‘dip’ feelings.